Finding the right therapist for you
Finding a therapist is a tricky thing. Whoever you are, there is a therapist out there for you!
Many people can get caught up on the kind of therapy that their therapist provides. It is important to have an understanding of the different approaches that therapists may use.
However, there is some evidence to suggest that it is not just the kind of therapy but also the interaction between the therapist and the client that plays a vital role in restoring wellbeing.
When looking for a therapist, ask yourself the following questions -
What do I want out of therapy?
Ask yourself what it is that you would like to get out of therapy. If you are searching for a space to take your time and explore your innermost feelings, then perhaps solutions focussed therapy isn’t for you. If you are wanting medication for anxiety or depression, you will want a psychiatrist rather than a psychologist.
If you are part of a minority groups, ask – are you GLBTI friendly? Are you polyamory friendly? Are you sex worker friendly? It’s your right to know, and to request a therapist that is going to treat you with respect.
Having at least some idea about what you would like to get out of therapy, and communicating this honestly and openly with your chosen therapist is a great way to start.
Do I feel respected?
When you step into your therapists office, do you feel free to speak your mind? Do you know that you can say anything that you need to without them passing judgement?
Therapists are human too, and we all come with our own hang ups. If you have a time when you feel judged or unheard by your therapist, talking with them will usually resolve the issue. In some cases it will even be a very useful form of personal growth for both of you!
But if you notice that you frequently feel uncomfortable, unable to speak your mind, or unheard during sessions, perhaps you need to find someone different.
Is this therapy enhancing my life overall?
The only person who can judge your progress is you. It’s ok not to move forward immediately. So wait a while before you evaluate how things are going. Sometimes, even if you haven’t reached the specific goal that you came to therapy for, you can evaluate if your current therapy is playing a positive role in your life.
Some good ways to evaluate whether your current therapy is helpful are to ask yourself-
Have I learned anything new about myself?
Do I have a clear understanding of what I am working on?
In the long term, am I feeling calmer and better able to handle situations?
Do I have a clearer understanding of where I am heading than I did before I entered therapy?
If you have begun with a therapist, and you have answered yes to these questions, stick with it! It can be hard work but it will definitely be worth it in the long run.
A comprehensive guide to the different kinds of therapeutic approaches can be found here - http://www.goodtherapy.org/types-of-therapy.html.